Identities and job opportunities for Syrian refugees

The announcement by the Turkish labor minister to grant Syrian refugees something more than tents and blankets was a positive one. He said that refugees will be registered as temporary residents and the government will help them obtain jobs in sectors that need labor force.

Not only is it a humane gesture for 1.7 million Syrian refugees but also a progressive political stance as it would help the refugees remain steadfast against the regime and at the same time benefit the Turkish economy.

The Syrian regime’s policy is to force its citizens to emigrate. When Assad’s forces target populated areas, they are in fact bombing these areas to punish ordinary residents in cities which joined the rebellion. The Assad government also seeks to punish neighboring countries with an outpour of millions of refugees.

It is impossible to defeat terrorism as long as Syria is not stable and it will not be so under Assad

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The Assad regime, its thugs and other terrorist groups, have destroyed cities and villages, terrified people and forced them to flee. These hapless people left their homes both out of fear and to look for food and treatment after their cities were systematically besieged and international aid was blocked.

Displacement of people

In the largest displacement of people in modern history which has continued for the past three years, around nine million Syrians have crossed borders to seek refuge in neighboring countries including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The Assad regime is hoping that the neighboring states as well as a majority of resentful refugees will be forced to reconcile with the regime and come back under its terms. This explains the regime’s strategy of rendering millions of people living in revolting areas homeless. However, after these three difficult years, this policy no longer remains viable.

Despite displacing more than one-third of its population, the regime is still unable to control the partly freed areas and is also unable to provide the basic necessities needed to live a normal life in such a weak state. This shows that the regime will not be able to keep its promise of bringing back the refugees even if they recognize its authority.

After punishing those living in the areas that revolted against it, the regime is now forcing the youth in the less-affected areas to join its Iranian-led militias and defend the territory left under its authority.

Compulsory recruitment

The compulsory recruitment attempt may harm the regime and cause an internal friction within the army itself.. This is because most of those who are refusing to be enlisted are from among the regime’s supporters, which shows the state of despair Assad’s regime is in.

A recent Washington Post report re-enforces the notion that Assad’s camp has much to fear. The paper reported a decrease in Assad’s support among Alawites, seen as his last pillar of support.

Further evidence of the regime’s possible ouster is a U.S. official’s remark. The official commented that President Obama – who can no longer be trusted on the Syrian issue - changed his opinion and asked his aides to look for alternatives to Assad, believing that if he were to remain in power, fighting ISIS would be impossible.

Whether or not Obama is being sincere or just wants to appease Arab governments, the fact remains that it is impossible to defeat terrorism as long as Syria is not stable and it will not be so under Assad.

While we wait for a political or military solution, granting refugees the opportunity to live with temporary identities and giving them simple jobs to make a living is a beautiful humane step that will give these oppressed people a glimpse of hope after years of suffering and torment.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on November 14, 2014.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.